American Apparel is engrained in our indie culture. Besides physically working at a store, what better way is there to delve into this jersey world than to become one of the models?
It just so happens that they are holding open model calls, where any one of us regular schmucks can grace those slutty ads we see everywhere. Their "thing" is to cast models and photographers who aren't necessarily professionals, but rather, get "normal" guys and gals pose in their clothes (or out of their clothes, whichever the case may be).
Here is my chance!
The open call is held in downtown Los Angeles at their giant pink warehouse, where AA clothing is proudly made as they regularly state. After parking in their dirt lot, you get a visitor sticker and head upstairs to the 7th floor in an old-fashioned elevator. You know the kind; the barely post-war lifts with the two gates that you have to hold or it will smack you on the side. I witnessed a lot of confused models that haven't seen such an old thing, and consequentially had metal gates hitting the side of their bodies. Inside the old elevator are black and white photos of a bodysuited model in the usual sexed up poses.
Upon opening the gates to the 7th floor you walk into the fanciest, most ideal looking AA store. Turns out, it's their show room that is only open to wholesale buyers and big clients. I sit on a couch with a few other male and female models, all with their big portfolios in hand, and here I am with nothing but my keys and a camera stashed in my pocket. I'm called up, and they take me to the corner, take a picture of my head and then a picture of my body with a digital camera, much like the one on my person.
That was it? No amateur porn shots with my finger in my mouth? No compromising positions with my ass in the air at some point?
Nope, there was none of this.
Then they showed me a box of t-shirts, and told me to take one. It was a big sad box of plain shirts in assorted colors and sizes, all with the slogan "Legalize LA" (which is also plastered on the side of the warehouse). By now, I've taken a few inconspicuous photos, and I leave. I guess it was naive of me to think there would a huge line of scenesters that look like Kimmy Gibbler practicing sexy/distressed poses for the camera.
There's still time if you want to join the fun. If you live in Los Angeles, you can go to the open call on: Monday, September 1st from 12pm - 4pm and Thursday, September 4th from 12pm - 4pm. You can also go on their website and submit half-naked photos of yourself there, in case you can't make the model call.
When I get home, I find this work flyer on my door:
Next time you pay $15 for a cut of cloth they call a scarf, know that you paid someone's hour and a half wage and helped fulfill an American (Apparel) dream.